“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
Enjoying a blind dinner on the beach is what initially attracted my attention, closely followed by the intrigue of a secret menu prepared with energy saving methods and organic ingredients. A table for two under the stars, listening to the sound of the ocean, really does sound like the perfect way to spend Earth Hour right?
Such a shame Mother Nature had other ideas – or was it…
Now I have talked my Husband into accompanying me to some unique and quirky events before but this one at The Ritz Carlton, in celebration of the 10th Anniversary of Earth Hour, could just well be one of the most memorable.
Earth Hour is a non-profit charitable organisation established by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and their mission is to shine a light on Climate Change. In March each year, millions of people around the world answer a call to action and switch off their lights between 8:30 – 9:30pm. The Earth Hour event was first held in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, so this year was also a celebration of their 10 year anniversary.
Our household of patriotic Australians switch off for Earth Hour each year and are really excited to see support for this event growing here in the Middle East.
Last year we enjoyed a quiet night in, so it was time to get out and experience something new. The Earth Hour Website has a local events page and ‘blind dinner on the beach’ certainly had me intrigued – but here is where the story gets interesting…
The outdoor dining event at The Ritz Carlton and many other local Earth Hour events designed to highlight Climate Change, were in fact cancelled due to Climate Change.
Consistent blue skies and sunshine is one thing you can generally rely on here in the UAE however, during this years ‘rainy season’, the country has experienced dramatic weather with unpredictable winds, heavy rainfall and an unusual number of dust and sand storms. Definitely not ideal conditions for a dinner on the beach.
Our Earth Hour event was relocated to a private room in The Forge Restaurant and, as luck had it, was now a romantic dinner for two. Unfortunately the rest of the guests decided to cancel their reservation once they were made aware of the venue change.
This was our first visit to The Ritz Carlton and, as a visiting guest, you have the opportunity to appreciate their attention to detail and experience the reputation of excellence the instant you enter the grand and elaborate foyer.
The Forge Restaurant can perhaps be seen as a complimenting contrast to the glamour of the surrounding resort as its identity is based around a modern, minimalistic and elegant concept. Although our evening was secluded from the main restaurant, at quick glance we were still able to appreciate the design elements of iron, glass and light as well as the open view of the show kitchen.
We were escorted to a private room within the restaurant, seated at a long table beautifully decorated by simple candle light and a blind fold had been added to our classic table setting.
There might have only been the two of us dining for this particular occasion but the excitement of this blind dinner, a first for us and The Forge Restaurant, was evident in every team member who looked after us for the evening.
We were given a choice of either a meat, fish or vegetarian meal as well as our preference of wine. The finer details were ‘secret’ and would be disclosed at the end of the evening. We were then left to adjust our blind folds and enjoy the complete peacefulness which comes from literally blocking out the surrounding visual distractions.
It was our sense of smell which went into overdrive as we were presented with our three courses throughout the evening. Out of respect for the Chef we removed our blind folds at different intervals throughout the meal to appreciate the care and detail which had gone into the preparation and to ensure the correct portions of the sides were enjoyed with each mouthful. As the description wasn’t disclosed until the end of the evening, all that was left for us to do was enjoy the creative combination of textures and flavours which was after all, the intention of the ‘mystery’ experience.
At the end of the evening we had the opportunity to sit and talk to our Waiter and were impressed to discover the care in which the culinary team had taken designing the Earth Hour menu. Especially the organic produce, the wine specifically chosen from a sustainable vineyard and the choice of hand forged Laguiole Knives used to compliment our dining experience.
These knives in particular captivated our attention and rightly so considering they are directly linked to the naming of restaurant. Those of you passionate about tradition, expert design and handcrafted excellence will appreciate the intricate 40 step process, carried out by a single artisan, required for each knife to be assembled and finished. The unique use of repurposed materials made this exclusive collection the perfect accompaniment to our Earth Hour meal.
All non-essential lights were switched off at The Ritz Carlton during Earth Hour including the main dining area of The Forge Restaurant. The resort also happens to be located across the road from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a UAE landmark which also switched off during Earth Hour celebrations.
Due to the success of the evening it was clear The Ritz Carlton are proud of their sustainable choices and further research, on my behalf, has uncovered that they take their environmental responsibility very seriously. Their Strategy includes:
• further reducing energy and water consumption 20% by 2020
• increasing local and organic dining options by partnering with local farmers, growers and seafood purveyors
• sourcing environmentally preferred products
• empowering our hotel development partners to build green hotels
• engaging and inspiring our employees and guests in conservation efforts
This commitment was further supported by The Ritz Carlton’s Community Footprints Program who decided to donate all funds from the evening to the WWF. What a shame the whole room wasn’t filled with dinner guests to add a higher contribution to such a worthy cause.
So how did the rest of the world celebrate Earth Hour?
The graphic below was released by the Earth Hour team to show the success of their 2017 event.
Earth Hour’s influence certainly reaches out a lot further than just inspiring the world to ‘switch off’ for one hour every year. The WWF have also funded climate-smart projects to countries in need creating real change to thousands of people around the world and are responsible for climate friendly laws and policies such as having plastic banned in the Galapagos Islands.
So now you know a little bit more about Earth Hour and have added a note in your diary to keep an eye out for next year’s Earth Hour celebration options, how can we continue this positive momentum for longer than just one hour?
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce our dependancy on single-use plastic, choose reusable items such as taking your own bag shopping, donate your unwanted items or repurpose them into new projects.
2. Buy Sustainable
Invest in products that are sustainable and/or are locally produced and consider preloved options
3. Save Energy
Unplug devices when you can, turn off your switch, install energy efficient light bulbs and add Earth Hour to your annual diary!!
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Those of you perhaps at the beginning of your ‘green’ journey I would love to know, which one of these three actions would you consider implementing into your daily routine?
Join the conversation
Here’s to #beingthechange
Disclosure: CWMS has in no way or means been sponsored by The Ritz Carlton to write this post and the thoughts and opinions expressed are purely our own. CWMS is excited to share this discovery and to start conversations which aligns with our Keeping it R.E.A.L ethos.